Thanks to the historically wet winter of 2023, officials at the Bureau of Reclamation say California will have plenty of water to go around next year.
The Bureau of Reclamation oversees the Central Valley Project, which is the largest source of irrigation water in the state. It stretches across central California for 400 miles, providing water to agricultural regions in the Central Valley, urban regions in the San Francisco Bay Area, and various wetlands throughout the valley. Water is stored in reservoirs, then sent to the areas that need it via a network of canals, pumps, and aqueducts.
After all the rainy weather California received earlier this year — including the 12 atmospheric rivers that occurred between December 2022 and March 2023 — those reservoirs are in good shape. At the moment, the Central Valley Project has 8.17 million acre-feet of water set aside for the 2024 water year, began on October 1st and runs until Sept. 30, 2024. That end-of-year total is more than the water totals for 2021 and 2022 combined.
“We could not have asked for better conditions in 2023, and the rain and snow were a welcome reprieve after the driest three-year stretch ever,” said Ernest Conant, director of the Bureau of Reclamation’s California-Great Basin. “The ample precipitation California received has left our reservoirs well-positioned as we transition to a new water year.”
The Bureau increased all of California’s water supply allocations to 100% in April. As the new water year begins, those water resources remain strong. Even so, Director Conant recommends all customers use their water wisely.
“While we are pleased to start the 2024 water year with reserves,” he says, “we know firsthand that California’s changing climate is unpredictable, and dry years will undoubtedly reoccur. Reclamation will continue to manage water supplies accordingly and, as always, encourage conservation and wise use of our water resources.”
At FGS, conservation starts with our irrigation department. We develop and install custom-made irrigation systems that are tailored to our clients’ needs, and we offer ongoing support via our Water Treatment Preventative Maintenance Program. Our consultations are free, and we encourage anyone looking to update their irrigation systems to more sustainable models to give us a call.